"Don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg," said Paul Schoomer, former owner of Paul's Books in the Loop, after learning includes charging $1.00 for evening parking at two City owned lots which currently have no parking fees.
The lots in question are the parking areas behind that stretch to and to , and the lot behind. The City estimates charging a dollar for night parking would generate at least $210,000 a year.
The business owners attending Tuesday's meeting of the Loop Special Business District said they will fight any effort by the City to impose evening parking fees on the two lots.
"It's very, very important to have free parking," said Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill. "In this economic climate it's a very delicate balance still of who survives in the Loop and who doesn't."
Edwards said it would hurt business and send people to other places that offer free parking. He said it's unfair for the City to focus only on the Loop. "Why not charge a dollar for parking at Centennial Commons, that's parking owned by University City. Why not charge at Heman Park. Why not charge at the library."
Edwards also voiced surprise that no one from City Hall or the City Council had approached the business group to let them know what was happening.
In an email to University City Patch, City Manager Lehman Walker said he has every intention of meeting with the Loop Special Business District to discuss the proposal.
However, he writes that "The correct protocol... is to present it as a proposal to City Council as I have done and then discuss it with the Loop Special Business District if Council is interested in pursuing the proposal."
He added "I would not want to have Council hear from the Loop Special Business District without having heard the proposal from staff beforehand."